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  • Writer's pictureJosh Pearson

Keeping up with Choas

Hello! Well, we survived Apple Fest and sent our first steers to market in September. Those who had pre-ordered our beef sample boxes will be the first to get to try our grass fed beef! We handed our bulk orders out last Friday, yes, the same day as Apple Fest...not great timing, but since then we have been able to try the ground, roasts and steak! You haven't been stressed until you've waited and worked for two years, before knowing that your product was worthy. Watching Josh cook our first Ribeye in the cast iron pan was even making Me anxious and I am not nearly as into beef as Josh. When he took the first bite I saw joy, but relief also washed over his face and I knew that we had at least made a decent steak. A pretty good one actually. The Wednesday before Apple Fest we had been alerted to a problem with our processor's freezer and had to make some last minute plans to both pick up our Beef, and then also ask that our customers come and get their products from us at the farm that same day. This is basically our worst case scenario. Raise the animal, have it processed and then risk it going bad. We don't have enough freezer space to house everything, AND people have already paid good money to hold their box. AND we worked too hard for the beef to spoil or rot. So, we quickly arranged to meet as many customers as possible at the farm Apple Fest Friday. Unfortunately before Josh could leave town to get the beef which is two hours or so away from Bayfield, we had an issue with the cows and Josh had to drive to the neighbor's farm to move fences before he could leave for Lake Haven Meats. On his way back from the cows, his tractor died that he had been using to deliver the first bale of the season with. Sitting in the middle of the dirt road with no cell service, he was eventually picked up and dropped off back at the farm. All of this to say it was a complete shit show and we are so very very grateful that so many people dropped everything to get their beef that Friday night in the dark. We couldn't have done it without great supporters. Now that we've distributed our beef we have placed some of the ground and patties in our store for customers to try. The remaining roasts, steaks and other products will be available in the store in the coming days. We also have liver, heart and tongue available if you're into that kind of thing... From what we've heard, grass fed beef can have a "different" taste, or a texture that some folks won't like. I'm no beef connoisseur, but it tastes pretty damn good to me! Before snow falls we need to accomplish a few different things. It's a mad dash to get our sheep sorted, bring the cows home, set hay bales on the pastures, fence them off, and set up winter water stations. We also have to continually stock and haul round bales and straw to tide us over until next May. It's crazy to think that we have to fit enough grass on our farm to feed the cows and sheep and horses for as long as they graze in the summer, 6-8 months worth. Yikes! Today we checked one of these items off of our list. We sorted the sheep flock into breeding stock (and Snuggles), and lambs to be sent to market. We also sorted out our original ewes which are going to be retired this year. They get to be lawn mowers for a friend of ours and live out their days at their farmhouse. Sorting sheep was eye opening. The Sheep happened to be grazing as far away as possible from the round pen where they had to go, so the first thing we had to do was walk across the pasture with a bucket of grain and gather the flock. I figured that I would make Josh carry the bucket with alfalfa treats and lead the flock thinking that the person running in the lead would require a faster pace than running behind the flock. The person behind the flock just has to be able to keep the stragglers moving so they don't veer off track. If one sheep panics, they all panic. Well it turns out that regardless of position, leading or following, it's a bit more exercise than I was prepared for. There went Josh and the flock of sheep, sprinting across the lumpy pasture and it was all I could do to huff and puff my way behind the flock, struggling for air. Some people run for fun. They buy running gear and go for a jog on Sunday. These are not my people. I've become accustomed to daily chores and sitting behind a desk. I would normally need to be chased by a bear, or Stanley in order to Sprint. In this case, Thelma and Louise saw me lagging behind and decided I looked like a good person to jump on and harass. They probably meant to be supportive but it came off as harassment. Even the dogs knew I was bear bait. Anyway, there I was, jogging like a 82 year old grandma behind the flock but all of the sheep went into the round pen successfully and I only got there five minutes after they did. We were able to sort the sheep in less than an hour and then just as I had recovered, we got to run them back across the pastures. I was cursing my short legs and poor lung capacity the entire way back. While sorting we would get the flock circling the round pen and then grab the sheep we were sorting out. Most of the sheep were in flight mode, jogging nervously away from the farmer. I hope to have sorting equipment soon but for now we just do our best to keep it low stress. In any case, there we were, all of the sheep are avoiding us like the plague and then there's Snuggles. Snuggles was just hanging out in the center of the round pen chewing his cud without a care in the world. I'm not sure if he's just unaware of the chaos around him, or if he knows that he's the farm mascot and won't be leaving but it was so funny watching him referee. He couldn't have been more in the way. The worst part about sorting sheep and breeding season though isn't handling the ewes, it's having to deal with the rams. Crash and Stanley don't understand that when you try to herd them somewhere we are doing it in their best interest and they charge and chase us around like absolute maniacs. I'm tempted to blindfold the two galoots and then whip the blindfold off once they're staring at a flock full of ladies. That should do the trick. If you've stopped by the farm these past few weeks you probably know that we have not had eggs in awhile. Several of our hens were carried off by a hawk, and the remainder are either raising chicks (in october!) or too old to lay. We hope to bring laying hens back to the farm next year. We do have lots of great pork and beef in the store, and this November we should be flush with ground lamb and other yummy lamb products again. You can always call or email us with further questions or interest. As always, thank you for following along and for supporting our efforts. Customer support truly is the single most important thing for any small farm and we don't take it for granted.

Turner Road Farm

89420 Turner Road

Bayfield, WI 54814

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